Our Fellowship Is With The Father
1 John 1:1-10
1That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life— 2the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us— 3that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. 4And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.
One of the greatest thoughts that could ever possibly cross man’s mind is here expressed, that of “Fellowship with God”. I have always believed that John here speaks of “fellowship” as a result of that wonderful statement spoken by Jesus to His disciples in the farewell discourse recorded in John 15:13- 15
13“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. 14“You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. 15“No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.
It seems to me that the idea of fellowship as expressed by John is that Friendship. John and the other disciples enjoyed a friendship an intimacy a fellowship with the Christ. It is interesting and you may have noticed that in John’s three small epistles, he never speaks of Jesus as Lord, he never refers to himself or the other disciples as servants.
I do not mean to suggest that John has forgotten that relationship which he and all the disciples bore to Jesus as Bondservants, John never forgets the supremacy and the sovereignty of Christ for He Is King Of Kings and Lord Indeed… but it is interesting that John does not speak of Him as such in these epistles. John seem to speak here peculiarly as one with a close, intimate and personal relationship with the Son Jesus Christ.
This word “Fellowship” therefore is an illuminating word concerning “Friendships”. John’s friendship and therefore our friendship with the Son, and with the Father through Christ.. Fellowship, this word ought to thrills us with deeply, warming thoughts of our relationship to Christ, and in Him to God.
The word “Fellowship” is full of suggestiveness, and almost impossible of full and final translation. This is seen in the numerous English words derived from the Greek word [koinwniva] translated here "Fellowship” but also translated in other places “Contribution, Distribution, Communication, Communion ." I believe that all these are needed in our language to convey the richness of this one great word, that is descriptive of the great fact that we have fellowship and a friendship with God and with Christ.
I tarry one moment longer with the word, to inquire if there be any illustration of its simplest meaning. I think we find one in the Acts of the Apostles. It is declared that in those early days of apostolic love and fervor. In Acts 2:42-44, the word is found twice in verse 42 the word is translated fellowship and in verse 44. It is declared that “And all that believed were together, and had all things common" The word translated common is the root from which the word fellowship is derived from koinav. and in that translation we get nearer the heart of its suggestive New Testament meaning, than in any other word.
What is fellowship? Having all things in common. What is it to have fellowship amongst men? To have all things in common with them. What is it to have fellowship with God? The statement is an amazing statement, but I am constrained to say it, “fellowship with God is to have all things in common with Him. The word Common is one that indicates the perfection of our relationship with the Father,
My desire this hour is to lead us in a quiet meditation as to what our "Fellowship With God" is and encourage those who are faithful . but I hope also to win those who lack the friendship. My prayer to God is that before this service ends you may become friends of Jesus the friends of God and know what fellowship with God really means. Notice John 15:14-15 again.
14“You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. 15“No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.
I select from all the different words mentioned two which help us appreciate this great word. I take first the word which we read in Acts 2:44 "Communion" Fellowship is communion, Then I take another idea from the word fellowship that of Partnership.
As I prepared for this lesson. I read where the word fellowship [koinwnia] comes from the Anglo-Saxon word "FEE" and that was a word that was used of driving cows to market. They mixed their cows in a common enterprise.
But why do I make a difference between "communion" and "partnership, for do they not signify the same thing? I do so because in our use of these words, we use them in different relations. We use the word communion in the realm of friendship, but we use the word "partnership" in the realm of business. For this reason then, I select these two words to convey two ideas as to a better understanding of what fellowship with God means.
Fellowship with God, then as to Privilege, is communion with Him. The actuality of friendship and fellowship with God, As to Responsibility, is partnership with Him, I almost hesitate to say this because it is so incomplete and an unworthy method of presentation, but for the purpose of arresting your thoughts, I say that "Fellowship with God means we have gone into business with God, that His enterprises are to be our enterprises."
Let us first dwell on our fellowship with God as “Communion, as Friendship” and I take simple illustrations of what friendship is on an earthly level that we may have the richest understanding possible of what is meant by fellowship and friendship with God. I begin with these words of prose:
"Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort, of feeling safe with a person; having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pour them all right out just as they are, Chaff and grain together, knowing that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping and with the breath of kindness blow the rest away."
Is this not a perfect description of a deep and intimate friendship or fellowship? How many people do we know that we can spill out anything in our heart and say whatever is lodged there? Very few. Life doesn't give us many acquaintances of this statue and we value each of them. But this is the perfect description of friendship. With our friend we think aloud, with no restraint. There is no need to keep up appearances, no need to play the hypocrite, we pour out the depts. of our heart, knowing this friend will sift between the chaff and the grain and gently blow away the chaff, keeping only the grain.
2- This is true friendship from a human level. But it is descriptive of what true friendship with God is as well. In Philippians 4:6-7 we read:
6Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
With God it is my privilege to pour out everything that is in my heart ,assured as our illustration stated, “He will, take them and sift, keeping only what is worth keeping and with the breath of kindness blow the rest away”. But have we learned this lesson? Do we not... all too often think in conversations with God that it must be that of carefully prepared and often pretentious phrasing?
Conversing with God reaches its highest level when, I alone with Him, pour out my heart, speaking all that is there. There is joy immeasurable, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God”... the admonition . What Is The Promise?
“and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus”.
Do we know of this fellowship? How much have we practiced talking to God, telling Him of everything in our souls? Oh, how we rob ourselves of the peace that passes understanding ¾ How we fail to talk with our Friend, Our Heavenly Father ¾ Fellowship with God, conversing with Him as a friend.
The beautiful hymn written by Joseph M. Scriven
What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear, what a privilege to carry, everything to God in prayer. Oh what peace we often forfeit, oh, what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.
How true this is.
Fellowship with God also means mutual interests: God interested in me, and I in Him. That I may be interested in God is understandable; but the marvel of the hour is, That God can be interested in me. The Psalmist expresses this very though in Psalms 8 hear it:
3When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; 4What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? 5For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honor. 6Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet:
Fellowship with God means that He is interested in my well being, physical and spiritual think of the Lord’s words to us from the Sermon on the Mount Matthew 6:25-30
25“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26“Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27“Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? 28“So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29“and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30“Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
Now brethren I wish, I knew how to say this as it ought be said. All to soon this day will be over, the appointed day of worship finished, most of us will be back in the midst of everyday things. We refer to them as our daily tasks, our jobs. But fellowship with God means that He is as deeply interested in a man on Monday, in the plant, in the office, whatever, and wherever the job be¾ as He is in the assembly on the Lord's Day.
There is no part of our lives in which God is not interested. The difficulty in business, the cares that burden our minds in the daily activities. God is interested. We do not leave God here in this building, nor do we leave this building alone!
Are we dreading the activities of tomorrow? Remember, God will be with you there, as profoundly interested in the work of your hands, the problems of your mind, as He is right now as we worship in this assembly. Hear the rest of this passage —
31“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32“For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
And finally, fellowship means also that there is mutual activity, a working together a partnership We read in Genesis 5:24
And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.
I am astounded each time I read this passage. Enoch walked with God, not for 5 years, not even 25 years, but for a period of 300 years Enoch walked with God. If it be a marvelous thing that Enoch walked with God, it is a more marvelous thing that God Walked With Enoch. The Great Sovereign Creator, walking, talking, loving man whom He had created. I wonder if that thrills and comforts your heart as it does mine? God desiring mutual fellowship, mutual activity that comes when two walk together in mutual agreement.
Our text from 1 John is one of the truly great and encouraging passages of the New Testament. First there are these words that thrill us¾ 1 John 1:3
3that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. 4And these things we write to you that your joy may be full..
Next ¾ words that scorch a little as we read in verse 5
5This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
Light implies all that God is in character. God is Holy, Love, Just, Righteous. God is Purity….. Light…. By nature we are made in God's image… I believe that speaks something of our character. But man has fallen far from that character likeness of God. We are the opposite of these traits that describe God.
6If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 1 John 1:6
I read 1 John 1:7-10 for sake of emphasis beginning in verse 10 reading back to verse 7, hear it.
10If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us 9If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 8If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 7But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
Are we walking in the light of God’s Word can we truly say as the Psalmist affirmed:
105Thy word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.
God’s ultimate goal and purpose is that, that you and I be presented finally before His throne, “Redeemed and Saved”. Fellowship with God demands that my eyes are to be forevermore fixed upon that same goal. If God will find His rest in me, when I am perfectly conformed to the image of His dear Son, I should never find my rest until that be perfectly accomplished!
God’s ultimate goal and purpose is achievable only thru obedience to the gospel of Christ.
Ron Cope Minister churches of Christ